9 Ways to maintain long-distance friendships

Whether you met in high school, college, or some other time in life – chances are high that distance will come between you and some of your closest and dearest friends. How are we supposed to maintain long-distance friendships? Some people find it difficult enough to maintain friendships with people in the same town.  So how are we supposed to survive hundreds of miles?

The truth is that it isn’t easy. And that’s okay…if you’re willing to put in a little effort occasionally. And that effort might pay off tenfold if: you suddenly live in the same area, you get married, you get divorced, you have children, you travel through their town, or if you just want to maintain that friendship because it’s important to you.

Ways to maintain long-distance friendships

1. Commit. Just like in a romantic relationship, friendships require commitment. If you’re not willing to make the commitment to stay connected to someone you care about, then simply put – you won’t.

2. Variety. Myspace. Facebook. E-mail. Texting. Calling. There are a variety of ways to stay connect, so there is no excuse not to! The better the friend, the more variety in their ways to connect to you. If you are only using myspace to stay connected to your best friend, chances are that you probably won’t be best friends for very long. It’s important to hear their voice! So use a variety of methods.

3. Driving. I hate people who talk on their cell phone and drive!! But I’m guilty. It’s my main way of staying connected to my best friends. If it’s going to take me 20 minutes to get home, I might as well do something positive on the way there. Headsets are a great idea, and don’t be afraid to say – “hold on” when your driving requires some more attention. And please don’t hit me with your car. Thank You.

4. Memory. While your friend is telling you all about her experiences with new friends, people, and work – it’s likely that you won’t know any of these people. Trying to keep everybody and everything straight can be a challenge. What’s a solution? Write it down. You will need to work extra hard to remember what your friend is saying because you’ll have no other personal connection to it all. Remembering the details and the people’s names is a great way to show your friend that you care and you are paying attention. Need some help remember?

5. Notebook. Grab a spiral notebook while you’re chatting on the phone (NOT while you’re driving!) and jot down the important stuff – people places, etc. Glance over it again to refresh your memory before calling or writing your friend. Little details make a big difference.

6. Plan a yearly trip. Even if you’re both broke, plan a trip together every year (more if you have the funds to do so). Make it an annual thing and take lots of pictures. You can go to your friends place, your friend can come see you, or you can both go somewhere else together. Bring spouses and partners if you want, but warn them that it’s going to be a lot of “catching up” and it could get boring for others.

7. Snail mail. Sending things in the mail may be a thing of the past, but if you don’t want your friendship to ALSO be a thing of the past, it’s time you figured out how to mail things. Yes, there are stamps involved. The post office can help you, but be prepared to wait in line and deal with cranky people. What can you send your friend? Anything! A note, postcard, letter, picture, book, cd, anything!

8. Their friends. Your friend will make new friends. Be ready to accept that, and even more importantly – get to know them! Meet them, write them, talk to them. These people surround your friend’s life. If you are even just casual friends with the new friends, you will stay closer. If they want to surprise your friend, or if your friend really needs help – these new people will know they can count on you. And so will your friend.

9. The bad stuff. When you experience something bad – whether it’s a bad day, or just a bad moment (feeling lonely, sad, angry, etc) call your friend. That’s what friends are for. Don’t think that just because it’s a long distance friendship that you can only share the good stuff. Great friends are there for the good AND the bad. So be sure to call when you need someone to talk to.

Here’s some more good info:

eHOW – How to maintain a long distance friendship

Friends and Friendship

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20 Creative Ways to get Exercise

In my last post, I made a list of 7 Simples Ways to Lose a little Weight, and one of the list items included “Get Creative.” Adding movement and activity in small ways can add up to some extra exercise to help us lose a little weight or stay healthy. Exercise doesn’t always have to be 30 minutes of cardio activity. Sometimes, it can just be little things that get us moving. So, challenge yourself to do a couple of these each day, and you might surprise yourself with the results:

1. Sit and be Fit. There’s a program called “Sit and be Fit” for elderly people who need to exercise. It’s a session of exercise that’s completed entirely while sitting down. I’ve taken that idea and turned it into my Couch Potato Sit to be Fit. I have a couple hand weights by my recliner, and while I’m watching television or a movie, I’ll sometimes grab the hand weight and do some exercise. Once you start, you’d be amazed at how creative you can get in finding ways to work different muscles while sitting in a recliner. Even just flexing your abs or butt muscles for the length of a commercial is something.

2. The Flex Challenge. Can you flex your abs? butt? pull your shoulders back? Challenge yourself to do this each time something happens. For example, flex your abs every time you walk through a door. Or if you’re driving, flex your butt every time you turn. Get creative with it and have some fun.

3. Brushing Teeth Squats. If you have a Sonicare toothbrush, it takes 2 minutes to brush your teeth. You can do 2 minutes of squats, lunges, or wall-sits. That’s better than just standing there staring at yourself.

4. Washing Dishes Calf-Raises. I hate washing dishes, and I hate exercise – so I might as well do both at the same to get it over with. While standing at the sink, do some calf-raises. That’s not too difficult.

5. An extra flight of stairs. If you have stairs in your home, you have a great tool to add exercise. A couple times a day, when you are headed up (or down) the stairs to get something, go up and down one extra time. Pretty easy.

6. The dog. If you are blessed with a dog, you have a super easy way to add exercise to your life. If a walk around the block is just too much for you (because you don’t want to get dressed, put on shoes, and go through the effort) just chase your dog around your house. Add a toy. It’s fun, exhausting, and no one has to see you do it.

7. Dance. While you’re getting dressed in the morning, put on some music that makes you want to dance. Instead of walking to the closet, kitchen, bathroom – you can dance. You can do this in privacy and it’s a great way to start the day.

8. One More. I have a goal to be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups. I’ve always dreamed of being able to pump them out with ease. Each day, add just one more. If you start with 3 that’s okay. Tomorrow, you’ll push yourself to do 4. We can all do just “one more.”

9. 5-minute clean. Set the timer (on your oven or cell phone) for 5 minutes. Now, pick-up and clean as much as you can in your house. That means you might need to run to the living room and then run to your bedroom to put that crap away. Having a timer will motivate you to get as much done in 5 minutes as possible. That will make you move faster which will get you moving.

10. Counter-top push-ups. Every time you go to the bathroom in your home, do a set of what I call counter-top push-ups. Stand back, put your hands on the edge of the counter, and do some half push-ups. Start with a set of 5 and see how many you can get up to. It only takes a few seconds and you’re there anyway, so you might as well do something for yourself other than relieve your bladder.

11. Cell phone flexibility. While you’re chatting on the phone with your friends and family, you probably don’t want to be doing something that will put you out of breath, so do simple stretching, squats, lunges, wall-sits, or whatever simple exercises you can think of. You don’t have to just sit there while you’re talking on the phone. You can actually move around ya know!

12. Remember Jumping Jacks? See how many you can do during one or two commercials while you’re watching television. Have a lazy roommate or spouse? Challenge them to see who can do more.

Jumping Jacks

How to do a Jumping Jack

13. Replace the recliner. Replace the recliner with a stationary bike. Even if you bike super slow, it’ll be more movement than if you were just sitting on the couch or recliner. And find a comfy one so you’ll actually sit on it.

14. Arm wrestle. Both arms and with as many people who are willing to do it. It’s silly. And it’s okay to be silly!

15. Get in bed. Get in bed with a partner, and commit to being intense. Don’t be a lazy bum who let’s the other person do all the work. See how many different moves you can show the person you love!

16. Pillow Fight! Getting irritated at your partner? Feeling tense? Have a pillow fight! It’ll feel good to release all that tension, and it might lead to number 15.

17. Race. Going somewhere? Leaving somewhere? Park in the back and race your partner to the front. You might look silly, but you’ll also look hot when you lose a couple pounds. It’s fun! And it’s okay to be silly!!

18. Get a treat. If you sometimes go to get a treat with your partner – coffee, slurpee, ice-cream, any tasty treat – do it. But instead of driving there. Walk. It gives you a destination (which is easier than just going for a walk for exercise); it gives you a reward; you have to finish the walk to get home; you have a tasty treat for the way home; and you have someone to talk to – which makes it less like exercise and more like social time.

19. Be creative! You can take almost any activity you do in your life, and add some extra movement, flexing, and exercise. Just start thinking about it. How long can you hold both your legs up in the air while sitting at your desk at work?

20. Have fun and challenge yourself. If you’ve noticed, a lot of these items are silly! And that’s okay! Have fun and challenge yourself to add movement and activity into your life in as many ways as possible. Make silly competitions with your partner, challenge yourself to add more, do more, move more. And you will start feeling and seeing a difference in your body. It’s amazing how powerful small steps can be – because a small step is better than no step!

Here are some other lists of other creative ways to lose weight and get healthy! Good luck!

Easy and Creative Ways to Lose Weight: 10 Simple and Fun Techniques for Losing Weight

Small Changes Make Weight Loss Easy

Losing Weight the Easy Way

Fun Ways to Lose Weight

Easy Ways to Lose Weight

Have some additional creative ways to exercise or get moving? Leave a comment!!